Restrictions on school sports expected Wednesday, Walz urges caution as COVID-19 surges
Gov. Tim Walz did not announce any new statewide restrictions Tuesday afternoon, but he again urged Minnesotans to stay home and keep their Thanksgiving gatherings to their immediate families during a conference call with media.
"That Thanksgiving dinner... is a riskier decision than getting your hair cut in a salon where everyone is masked and distanced," Walz said during the call.
Upcoming statewide guidance that will impact both fall and winter school sports will be announced during a Wednesday call.
Walz said that even though young people often show less severe symptoms of COVID-19, spread of the disease through youth sports has contributed to community spread outside of the events.
"We're at the point now that there's not going to be any coaches or referees... because it is spreading at a rate that is going to start impacting us in huge numbers," he said during the call.
The Tuesday afternoon press conference began with personal experiences of the virus from Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, former Minnesota State Representative Nick Zerwas, and Dr. Jon Cole, an emergency physician at Hennepin County Medical Center.
Flanagan, whose brother died of COVID-19 earlier in the year, said during the call that people who continue not to believe the seriousness of the pandemic are showing "remarkable cruelty" towards everyone who has lost family members.
She also decried the "magical thinking" of people who do believe the virus is serious but continue to take risks like hosting gatherings or going out regularly, urging people to reconsider those risky events as the situation worsens.
Zerwas, at particular risk of COVID-19 complications due to his history battling a heart defect, thought he had caught his son's cold when he began developing symptoms of COVID-19.
"I assumed I had his run of the next bug," Zerwas said during the call. "I was stunned when I became so overwhelmed and ill from this virus."
Zerwas said he was sent to intensive care and spent a total of five days in the hospital.
"Those first few months" of the pandemic, he said, "we locked down pretty hard." He said his family became less cautious as new cases slowed during the summer.
Zerwas, a Republican who said during the call he often disagrees with Walz and criticized lockdown measures during the early months of the pandemic, urged all Minnesotans to take extra caution as cases are surging now.
The virus "doesn't care... who you voted for," he said during the call. "It doesn't discriminate — and it's mean."
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